A Clontarf builder buster by the seaside
201 Mount Prospect Avenue Clontarf, Dublin 3
Asking price: €1.5m
Agent: DNG (01) 8331802
As the early sparks of recovery first spluttered in 2011, savvy buyers with cash realised that they could now afford a luxury period home in postcodes like D2, D3, D4 and D6, which had only just been subject to an eyewatering level of investment in renovations, fittings and furnishing by the previous and often bankrupted boom era owners.
These homes, many of which were early repossessions or stressed sales, were being sold at knockdown prices. They were the obvious easy pickings for the smart early bird buyers on the prowl right after the wipeout. Period homes in prime areas and in prime condition had just seen their values slashed by up to 70pc in the crash.
Consider that the smart cookies who bought with cash in 2011/2013, are today generally sitting on luxury period homes worth three times what they paid for them a few years ago.
Also consider that the sort of boom era fittings installed by their more feckless predecessors (including travertine marble bathrooms, luxury bath tubs, cinema rooms and kitchens worth €100,000 or more), would often cost more to install today than the last price paid for the entire house in such steals.
As prices went up, those who were not in on the early pickings realised that all was not lost. Most of the attention had been on high-end restored period homes in walk-in condition. But what about the run down versions in the same areas which were still relatively affordable?
The second wave of smarties realised they too could have a top-end home in a top address simply because builders’ prices were still on the floor. The difference was that they’d have to do the renovating themselves. They could buy a run-down period property for a decent price and then avail of the cheapest construction costs since the early 1990s.
And so attention rapidly turned instead to the executor sales and run down homes from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s which carried period home status but were not listed or protected. Small builders whose businesses had been poleaxed by the crash were only too willing to come on board.
As more middle to upper buyers cottoned on, the renovations became more ambitious. Soon floors were being pulled out and bigger rear extensions added, many double storeyed. Some even went so far as to take advantage of the unprotected nature of the properties by demolishing entirely, leaving only the facade standing, and building entirely new properties behind them. Today these are in reality new homes with period house faces, A-rated BERs and open plan modern layouts throughout.
But times have changed again. With large scheme construction getting underway, the small builders willing to take on a large scale period home restoration began to dry up in early 2018. By the end of last year builders were quoting rates designed to put people off. Agents reported selling homes to people in mid 2018 only to have to sell them again on their behalf before the end of the year, their builders having reneged on earlier quoted prices for the big renovations required.
What it means is that today the better value in the premium 1930s to 1950s property market is in homes which have already been renovated, extended to their optimum and importantly, with the work done to a higher than average standard.
The 1930s house at 201 Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, has a double advantage. First it had its extensive renovation and extension works carried out in the early noughties, and to a very high quality, but well before the crash. Second, that work was done in a style more akin to that seen in the more recent spate of renovations.
Originally a single-fronted home with a garage, the current owners invested large in two phases at that time. Unusually for that time, they went in for a more complete and open plan ground floor rearrangment than was typical at the time when buyers generally refurbed the ‘old’ house, kept its standard layout and then added a modern kitchen/diner extension to the back.
Instead No201’s owners got stuck into their ‘old’ house, knocked walls, moved stairs and in doing so, created what is a semi open plan dwelling in the original home. In phase one, they extended to the side, making the house double fronted and in the process replicated the 1930s brickwork, the roof tiles, and recreated a second double height bay window column which exactly mirrors the original. They also added a side entrance to the rear to replicate the old garage.
In the second phase they extended out the back for a new kitchen diner, with a timber beamed look that is more than a little American in appearance. This look is carried through into the ‘old’ house via the solid teak flooring.
The resulting house stands at almost 3,000 sq ft, three times an average semi.and comprising a wide open and airy entrance hallway, guest wc, cloakroom, study, living room, dining room, breakfast room, kitchen, utility room and a large family room leading on to the garden which is south facing. On the first floor there is an extensive light filled landing and the master bedroom suite has its own bathroom and a walk in wardrobe.
There are three double bedrooms and a family bathroom. The top floor contains a large attic room with views over the back garden which stands 165 ft in length.
There’s triple glaze to the front and double to the rear and underfloor gas fired central heating on the ground with radiators upstairs.
For this period home by the seaside and an elegant and airy 3,000 sq ft builder buster, DNG wants €1.5m.